Jan and I drove into our little village of Red Hook yesterday to be greeted at the main crossroad by a pickup truck sporting a huge half- American half-confederate flag blowing in the wind in the bed of the truck. The energy of the war drums pounding is palpable everywhere. How to respond? We turn to some sage guidance from the person we consider to be the wisest of the 20th Century, whose reach has yet to be fully realized, C. G. Jung, from his collected letters Volume 2, p. 502-3.
On April 28, 1959 Jung responded to a question as to why he didn’t protest against the injustice done to Tibet by the Chinese occupation. Here is his response:
“You are quite right: I also ask myself why I do not use the means that appear to be at my disposal to do my bit in combating the atrocities that are going on in the world. I can give no rational reasons for this. In such matters I usually wait for an order from within. I have heard nothing of the kind. The world situation has got so hopelessly out of hand that even the most stirring words signify nothing. It would be more to the point, or so it seems to me, if each of us were sure of his own attitude. But an individual who thinks that his voice is heard afar merely exposes himself to the suspicion that he is one of that band who have said something in order to prove to themselves that they have done something whereas in reality they have done nothing at all. Words have become too cheap. Being is more difficult and is therefore fondly replaced by verbalizing. Unfortunately this is all I have to say on the matter.”
What Jung is suggesting is that we act when we hear the order to do so from within ourselves. That order issuing not from impulse but from the quiet certainty of the heart. In the meantime the real contribution is to take on one’s own being, truly reconciling the opposing energies within the self. This is the playing field for world peace, the holographic solution.
Every 2,150 years the Earth tilts toward a different constellation. This repeats itself twelve times before it completes a full revolution on it axis for a total of 26,000 years.
Astrologers assign to each of these epochs a different zodiacal sign. Earth is just completing its 2,000 year plus stay in the sign of Pisces. We are currently indeed at the dawn of the Age of Aquarius, the beginning of a new 2,000 year era.
“And now we are moving into Aquarius,” wrote Carl Jung in a letter in 1955, “of which the Sibylline books say, …Aquarius inflames the savage forces of Lucifer.”*
As with the ending of any epoch, new life is preceded by great destruction. Put another way, we are in the early contractions of a cosmic birth. Jung’s final vision on his deathbed in 1961 was a vastly changed Earth, some 50 years in the future. This vision is shared by many psychics. In fact, Jan channeled a similar prediction in which Jeanne suggested that the re-formation of earth mass may create a whole new orbit of the planet.
Whether these predicted changes will occur through nuclear engagement, currently threatening the world, or through the melting of the ice caps and the rising oceans, or some combination of both, it’s pretty clear that major change is already in motion. The saving grace is that all predictions suggest that, though deeply challenged, the Earth and life will endure.
Aquarius is the water bearer, and it is associated with all things water, from nurturance to flood. Aquarius is also forward looking, idealistic, bent on freedom and humanitarianism. These are the higher chakras in the human energy system, from the heart to the third eye, the mental and spiritual planes.
The period we are exiting, Pisces, was characterized by hierarchy and power, the chakra of the ego or solar plexus and its dominance of the lower chakras, particularly sexuality.
The religions of the Piscean era offered their guidance and garnered their power through insistence on belief and forced adherence to dogma. The Aquarian age, though highly intuitive, insists on proof, genuine experience as its spiritual path, to “know” rather than to simply believe.
With its insistence on fairness, Aquarius is in direct opposition to the wily ego of power and control, a vestige of the Piscean age. This is the clash with Lucifer that Jung references from the Sibylline Oracle. We are currently witnessing such opposition on the world stage as narcissistic power motives clash with the true needs of the planet. It will be the challenge of the Aquarian age to reconcile narcissism with true freedom and equality.
Interestingly, Jung believed that even more fundamental to world survival was the issue of overpopulation. Even Tesla, the rising star of the electric car industry, though producing an intelligent energy solution to gas guzzling cars still aims to produce 10,000 vehicles per week, modest by auto industry standards but absurd in terms of the burden on the planet. The truth is that an ever-expanding human population will destroy the planet regardless of its attempts at energy conservation measures.
From the perspective of overpopulation, the humans of the Aquarian age will have to arrive at a new relationship to the sexual instinct if the planet and life on it are to survive.
Interestingly, don Juan Matus, Carlos Castaneda’s teacher, concluded that the only way for the world to survive and evolve was for human beings to access the energetic side of life, the energy body. Reaching the energy body and interacting on an energetic level require a refined use of sexual energy. Honing sexual energy for higher purposes has long been known and utilized in kundalini yoga, as well as Buddhist and shamanic practices.
Life at an energetic level offers completely transparent union. And connection at that level involves direct knowing and complete merging with another being; a more completely satisfying union than the physical copulation of our current permutation, where large parts of our beings remain hidden from our partners. At an energetic level all is revealed, all is known, all is accepted.
I am reminded of a young Jane Fonda as Barbarella, a 1968 movie about a futuristic woman who encounters a man from our time who wants to have sex with her. She is amused and grants him his wish, but sees it as an antiquated, limited approach to intimacy from a once physical, lower-chakra dominated time in human history.
Deeply satisfying union that transcends mere physical need opens a whole new possibility for achieving balance upon the planet in this coming age of Aquarius.
Though there are established practices to reach the energy body, such as Tensegrity, dreaming, and meditation, in my clinical work I have discovered that trauma often precipitates an immediate out-of-body jolt, introducing a person to the energy body, where they witness their physical body from a vantage point outside of the physical body.
Obviously, I am not advocating that people go out and engage in activities that will trigger traumatic jolts out-of-body. But I am suggesting that perhaps what we are going to be facing in this Aquarian age, in our clash with Lucifer and whatever earthly calamities result, may offer jolts that will collectively catapult our species out-of-body and into energy body states with all its evolutionary possibilities for harmony and understanding. Stripped of our current collective ego consciousness, the possibilities for a new collective consciousness, dissolved of ego dominated by narcissism, is truly a new age dream.
The true clash of the Aquarian with Lucifer is the clash between spirit (mental plane) and body. This translates into the opposition and split between the lower chakras of the physical body and the higher chakras of the energy body. In the Piscean age regulation of this opposition was handled through romantic ideals such as courtly love, celibacy, or downright repression. This form of control burst apart with the freedom and ideals of the dawning of the age of Aquarius in the experimentation and free love of the 1960s.
Those new age ideals have transmuted into a cool detachment, deep intelligentsia, and avoidance of human commitment in favor of abstract connection via technology in a multitude of forms of social media. That incredible new opportunities for connection and communication have opened via this channel, as they present new means of connection and mass efforts to effect change, is obvious. However, the shadow of this medium is a dissociation from real human contact and genuine feeling, which the liberated Aquarian may neglect in its idealism. This can activate the ire of Lucifer, the earthbound body.
On an individual level the reconciliation of spirit and body endures in new forms in this Aquarian age. As we allow ourselves to discover our new found energetic freedoms let us not neglect the true needs of our physical, animal, instinctual selves, which must be included fairly in our new selves, or meet them as inflamed savage forces as the Sibylline book warns.
To address the needs of the whole self, with full transparent honesty, is an Aquarian ideal. As this transparency extends beyond the self to others the door opens to greater energetic connection. As the wave of Aquarian energy more fully enters the world, a greater mass of human beings bent on evolution will embrace compassion, truth, and loving kindness, manifesting a newly balanced world.
We meet the animal that we are in the bathroom. Despite the soft, white, scented Charmin’ tissue paper that we wipe ourselves with, what leaves our bodies is stinky, sticky and dark, the color and texture of muddy earth.
C. G. Jung suggested that the bathroom is the room where we most encounter our instinctual selves, thus it is equated symbolically with the collective unconscious. The day I read Jung’s reflections on this specific subject, a client, who has graciously agreed to allow me to share it, had the following interaction with me:
Me: “So, have you had any dreams?”
Client: “Funny you should ask, I had a disgusting dream that I’m not going to tell you” (and then she did).
Here is a summary of the dream: “I’m in a red-neck setting, one I’d never be in. I’m hidden under a tree. I’m on my side looking at people. Suddenly and uncontrollably I take a long, foamy bowel movement. I’m extremely embarrassed. I move away, afraid they’ll find out it was from me. I decide to go back to cover it over but can’t find it.”
As we reflected on the dream we came to understand that the client was attempting to get away from something deeply uncomfortable, hidden in the shadow of the self, something “behind her,” a fact she’d much rather keep “flushed away” from herself. Her instinctual dream would not let her get away with this however.
We unearthed the disowned fact, which reached back decades into childhood. The shit became a pearl and opened the door to address and shift a lifelong source of shame.
Jung pointed out that the alchemists considered excrement to be a prima materia from which gold could eventually be extracted. They called this stage in their experimental operations the nigredo.
In these modern times, humanity identifies itself as a rational mind, a fast acting logical computer that I would call a spirit self. In our times, spirit has withdrawn from the heavens and been reframed as the mental place, the thinking brain. Spirit humans hardly see themselves as animals governed by bodily dictates.
In our dream, the instinctual self teaches the spirit/mental self, that avoids earthy red-neck environments, that the gold lies in that which is most rejected and avoided in the self.
Everyone has had dreams of public toilets without doors or of defecating uncontrollably in public places. These dreams are really about our deepest nature attempting to draw our attention to that which we are most afraid to expose ourselves or others to, and yet, like the diamond that emerges from the blackest coal, these dreams really should be treated as holy shit.
If we allow ourselves to own the shit, refusing to be shut down by shame or embarrassment, we disarm our emotional defenses and free ourselves to become more human and to discover the most valuable pearls of wisdom from the refuse of our own bodies.
It’s Tuesday morning as I write this blog. The verse my soul brings me is a line from Leonard Cohen’s march,* “Democracy is coming to the USA.” This is not the seed my ego would choose to plant in this blog, but, as Leonard also once sang, “If it be your will.” And so, I acquiesce.
Equally disturbing is the ruthless perseverance of American Express, incessantly invading the landline of our sanctuary on the hill with its myriad of tricksterish schemes to hook our energy. In fact, it led to a small spat between Jan and I at breakfast as to the best strategy to swat down that mosquito pest. I got angry at her ‘foolishness,’ picking up the phone and instantly hanging up. Her energy, as I saw it, hooked by the game, totally overlooking of course how my own heated reactive anger was perhaps doubly hooked!
Of course, it’s not lost on me the synchronicity of the heated energy of Leonard’s USA march and American Express’s steamroller tactics. America is at the center of our heated-up world right now, be it socially, politically, economically, or environmentally. In fact, our entire world is now a hot cauldron, an alchemical sweat lodge portending great transformation.
In a letter dated September 25, 1946, C. G. Jung writes to a colleague in New York: “…One could say that the whole world with its turmoil and misery is in an individuation process. But people don’t know it, that’s the only difference. If they knew it, they would not be at war with each other, because whosoever has the war inside himself has no time and pleasure to fight others. Individuation is by no means a rare thing or a luxury of the few, but those who know that they are in such a process are considered to be lucky. They get something out of it, provided they are conscious enough. Of course it is a question whether you can stand such a procedure. But this is the question with life too…”**
Jung wrote this letter shortly after World War II, clearly with the hope that the world could introvert—contain and seal off its warring elements within the individual—whereby creating the sweat lodge of self to advance corporeal humans to experience and unite within living form their latent spiritual, energetic self.
This is the goal of all life—individuation—to advance into and incorporate its wholeness, most especially to find and reconnect with its energetic self that lives and reigns in the life of the physical body.
Don Juan Matus maintained that the survival of our world dream required humankind to discover and bring its energy body into life. Both Jung and don Juan passed on their individual methods, psychotherapy and shamanism respectively, to avert world destruction, but were each equally guarded in their prognoses.
And so the world heats up once again, on many levels, with the deeper intent of evolutionary advance at its center. The earth has become the sweat lodge of this deeply transformative process. But you know, we are the world.
And so, back to the sweat lodge at our Tuesday morning breakfast table. The warring elements that manifest in the opposites of man and woman, spirit and material, naturally seek to trump each other. In our case, the fiery energies were maturely contained as breakfast was consumed on the Holy Grail plates, the projections burned off within, the projected elements—the wrong/bad other—introverted, sealed off within the sweat lodge of the self.
In the process, as the emotional distortions burned off, energy body self emerged with its 360° perspective. All sides are relevant and acceptable from this all-round perspective, all fit neatly together.
American Express is merely part of the catalyst of now, challenging us to find within us the place of no pity, the place of compassionate detachment and love, and with it the energy body of our potential self.
Don’t leave home without it,
*Quote from Leonard Cohen’s song “Democracy.”
**Quote from C. G. Jung Letters Volume 1: 1906-1950, p. 442
A young child dreams of seven white geese marching down a street. All the people the geese walk past fall down dead. Surprisingly, C. G. Jung suggests that this is a favorable dream, that this is nature, via the dream, introducing the young child to the world of time. Everything passes. To the child’s world of timelessness, still bathed in the myths and depths of the collective unconscious, life and death are introduced, including her own awareness of herself as a mortal being in this world.
Life in this world is a bipolar affair. We all grapple with it. At one pole we feel our link to the timeless, as we often live as if we have forever! Though we may negatively judge this ‘slothful’ attitude, it nonetheless is a link to infinite life in timelessness, as an energy body or spirit. At the other pole is the truth of aging and mortality in a physical body, observed and experienced in fading life within and all around us.
At the beginning of every day the Shamans of Ancient Mexico say: “We are beings who are going to die.” This is their intent to keep their awareness fully present to their limited time and opportunity for life in this world. We are all beings saddled with the bipolar conundrum of life and death.
What Jung highlighted in this young child’s fall from innocence was the introduction of change, which happens when we enter life in time. Everything passes in time. Accepting this basic truth helps us to feel and release a wave of sadness. The pain of loss will eventually pass. In the world of time things mature and change and new possibilities for life will arise.
If we are gripped by a craving or passion, we know, if we hold on, that the compulsion will eventually pass. We may not be ready yet, we may still be too attached to the timeless pole of our being that accepts no limitations, but eventually we may be ready to inhabit our corporeal reality and accept the limitations of life in the body.
The great advantage of life in time, in a physical body, is that we are freed to complete our unique experience of life, what Jung called individuation. In time we unfold into the discovery and fulfillment of all that we are. We begin new things, be they careers, relationships, gardens, or books. We can nurture and live the course of these engagements to completion because in time, for better of worse, everything passes.
In time we can answer the questions of our ancestors and pose new ones for ourselves. To fully individuate in our life in time we must recapitulate. If we leave fragments of our lives unknown to ourselves we will not be able to integrate the full knowledge of our journey and we will leave behind questions that must be answered before completion. Perhaps this is the basis for reincarnation, bardo life, or time in purgatory.
My wife Jan lived in Sweden for several years during her twenties. She always felt she went there to fulfill something unfinished in a past life, to connect with and live out unfinished business with people who had once been very important to her. She was welcomed there with open arms, loved unconditionally, and she loved fully and unconditionally in return. She fully embraced being Swedish, learned the language quickly and fluidly, and did all things Swedish like a true Swede. When it was done, it was done. Time to move on and return to life in present time.
My first wife, Jeanne, also completed unfinished business, though she did it in spirit form, after her physical death, reconnecting with the birth mother she never knew in her life as Jeanne Ketchel. It was the completion of her lives on earth, her final chapter in space and time, described in the final chapter of The Book of Us, channeled through Jan.
For although everything does pass in time, that which is not fully realized must be completed somewhere, somehow before we are fully freed to move on in timelessness. As everything passes, as we complete our many paths of individuation, we enter infinity, enriched by our lives and ready to explore new paths of heart, in and out of time.